Stay For a Nightcap! Tough Ranks

Toronto 5, Detroit 4

- Jose Bautista only doubled and tripled on Saturday. Cut him now, what a slacker. Seriously though, where do you rank him for 2011? I didn't include him in my initial top 30 next year, and I still probably won't because of the batting average. But I want to see your (a) ranking for him next year, and (b) a rough projection.
- Speaking of tricky projections, Brandon Morrow is starting to make himself pretty darn expensive for 2011. Aside from his four-inning effort against Oakland (when he was on a strict pitch count after skipping a turn), his lowest strikeout total in an August start is nine K's. Moreover, he has only given up four homers in Skydome in 82 innings and 11 overall in 143.1 innings. The AL East looms on his schedule year-after-year, but he could be a monster next season.
- Scott Downs had been pitching well before Saturday's outing. Kevin Gregg got the "save" despite giving up a two-run double to allow both of the runners that he inherited from Downs to score. I hate Kevin Gregg.
- Somehow the Jays managed to find a way to get all of Fred Lewis, Adam Lind and Travis Snider in the lineup - thanks to Lyle Overbay's illness.
- Jeremy Bonderman was scratched with a sore right side.
- Edwin Encarnacion went on the DL with a sprained left wrist after the game. John McDonald will get most of the playing time at third base rather than Jose Bautista moving to third - which means that Lewis and Snider will usually have to keep on sharing playing time.

Philadelphia 3, San Diego 1

- Brad Lidge went balk-free to get his 18th save of the year.
- Shane Victorino is only hitting .222/.287/.380 vs. right-handers this year, but his two-run triple was the key to the Phillies win on Saturday. He has consistently had a significant split in this direction over his career, but the degree in which he's struggled from the left side of the plate is greater than before.
- With Jerry Hairston Jr. on the DL, the Padres are currently locked into the David Eckstein and Miguel Tejada combo up the middle. Everth Cabrera is back from Triple-A to fill in as the backup in both spots.

Minnesota 1, Seattle 0

- I actually picked up Nick Blackburn in AL Tout Wars last week with this start in mind, but this surpassed anything I could have reasonably expected. Be careful not to expect more starts like this in the near future - his next start is a home gig against the Rangers, followed by a start against the Royals - they torched him twice this year, albeit in April.
- Brian Fuentes got the save, getting the final out against lefty Russell Branyan. Manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that this was a situational use, and not a role change between Fuentes and Matt Capps.
- Orlando Hudson left with a sprained ankle.
- Jim Thome left after one at-bat with back stiffness.
- The Mariners have shut down Michael Pineda to prevent adding too many innings to his total for the year, after coming back from elbow injuries last year.

Washington 14, St. Louis 5

- It was the uncertainty surrounding Kyle Lohse and Jeff Suppan at the back of the Cardinals' rotation that prompted them to make the Jake Westbrook trade, giving up Ryan Ludwick in the process. Lohse once again affirmed those doubts, giving up eight runs to the Nats over five innings. It could have been worse, but for a disputed interference call on Ian Desmond's bunt in which he was ruled out for running inside the baseline.
- There's some bad blood between the two teams, fueled in part by Nyjer Morgan's home plate collision with Bryan Anderson in the eighth inning, with the Nats already up big. On the play, Morgan missed home plate but came back to touch it after being grabbed by teammate Ivan Rodriguez and pushed back. He was ruled out for interference, but the Cards were angry that there was a collision at all.
- Ryan Franklin was unavailable due to a sore neck.
- Lohse could get replaced in the rotation by Jeff Suppan.
- Adam Dunn had a homer and five RBI, snapping an 8-for66 slump, based on correcting a mechanical flaw he spotted in a video session.

New York Yankees 12, Chicago White Sox 9

- Mark Teixeira had to leave early with a bruised thumb first suffered on Friday when he made a diving stop. Given what we know about thumb/wrist/finger injuries and hitters, don't be surprised if Tex misses a handful of games. What this does is create a chance for all four of Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Austin Kearns and Marcus Thames to play, instead of one sitting out, with Nick Swisher moving from the outfield to first base.
- Andy Pettitte (groin) had a bullpen session early on Sunday, but he's still two weeks away.
- Carlos Torres replaced Erick Threets (torn elbow ligament) in the White Sox bullpen. Previously he had been used to make a handful of spot starts.
- John Danks had a rare and ill-timed off-day, giving up eight runs on six hits (including three homers) over 4.1 innings. The Sox are now 4.5 games behind the Twins. It might be too late for Manny Ramirez to make much of a difference.

Cleveland 4, Kansas City 3

- Asdrubal Cabrera hit his first career walk-off homer and his third homer of the season. After the game, he said that his previously broken arm still is sore, but that his doctor said that this is pretty normal.
- Joakim Soria never got into the game, despite having not pitched since Wednesday. Instead, Jesse Chavez got a second inning of work. Manage by the save rule and the save chance never comes.
- The Royals stranded 10 runners, after stranding 16 on Friday - the perils of having a singles-hitting offense.
- Ruben Tejeda came off the DL and could resume the Royals' set-up duties.
- Billy Butler sat out again with a sore right hand.
- Michael Brantley is hitting .313/.365/.465 in 67 at-bats in August.

Tampa Bay 3, Boston 2 (10 innings)

- For the second time in his career, Dan Johnson hit a big walk-off homer against the Red Sox.
- Carl Crawford returned after missing Friday's game with a stomach virus.
- Victor Martinez's thumb injury appears fully healed - he has three homers the last two games.
- Jason Varitek (foot) will get re-examined in the next week - he is taking batting practice and catching bullpen sessions. The tough part of this time of the year is that pretty soon teams will not have minor league games for their injured players to go on rehab assignments.

Atlanta 12, Florida 3

- Tim Hudson struck out a whopping 13 batters - after having just 96 strikeouts in 177.2 innings. Only the Diamondbacks have struck out more than the Marlins, who have struck out 1,054 times in 128 games.
- Bringing back Ricky Nolasco (knee) this quickly didn't work out all that well. Given that the Marlins really aren't in the playoff hunt, it's plausible that Nolasco gets shut down early. He said that the torn meniscus in his knee had nothing to do with his performance, but I'm dubious.
- Derrek Lee left with a strained right side, though afterward he said it was for precautionary reasons that he left. He isn't starting on Sunday.
- Cameron Maybin returned after missing a game with a strained groin, suffered because he said that he was dehydrated.

Milwaukee 8, Pittsburgh 7 (11 innings)

- Lorenzo Cain knocked in the game-winning run with a single in the 11th inning. He's not playing every day, but he's getting an extended look at the expense of Carlos Gomez.
- Chris Capuano replaced Manny Parra in the rotation, with pretty ugly results, giving up six runs on six hits and three walks over five innings. Parra pitched much better over the next three innings.
- Charlie Morton is back for another spin in the rotation. I actually liked his talent heading into the season, but it obviously hasn't worked at the major league level for him. The second-hand "scouty" scuttlebutt on him is that he doesn't/hasn't trusted his stuff, and starts to get too fine once he falls behind. His Triple-A numbers were pretty mediocre - 3.83 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 53:30 K:BB in 80 innings.

Chicago Cubs 3, Cincinnati 2

- The Reds were playing three men short, with Brandon Phillips, Laynce Nix and Miguel Cairo all unavailable to hit. The team should have put Nix on the DL when he first sprained his ankle, to give the team another bench bat.
- Kosuke Fukudome was owned by Bronson Arroyo prior to his big two-run homer on Saturday - he was 1-for-16 over his career against Arroyo before the game.
- The Reds have moved Edinson Volquez to the bullpen and will activate Aaron Harang (back) off the DL to start in his place on Tuesday. Homer Bailey will move up one day to start on Monday, meaning that he'll also get a start against the Cardinals later in the week.
- Orlando Cabrera (oblique) will shut it down for a few days because he still feels soreness when throwing. He wants to return in time for the Cardinals series, but the Reds are better off with Paul Janish out there - I hope they wait on Cabrera.

Houston 4, New York Mets 1

- Carlos Lee homered for the fourth time in his career against Johan Santana - only Travis Hafner and Magglio Ordonez have done better.
- Matt Lindstrom (back) had his bullpen session pushed back because his back is still stiff.
- Jeff Keppinger (toe) is close to returning - he'll have a rehab game for Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday.
- Jose Reyes (oblique) sat out for the second night in a row and didn't even take batting practice.

Oakland 5, Texas 0

- Dallas Braden continued his recent strong run by throwing a complete game shutout, despite striking out just one batter. He has a 2.37 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.
- Rich Harden continues to frustrate - after his gem on Monday, he only went 4.1 innings on Saturday, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks. Derek Holland finished out the game, giving up just one run his 4.2 innings of work.
- Frank Francisco went on the 15-day DL with a strained right rib-cage, creating room for Holland on the roster.
- Brett Anderson should make his next start despite hyper-extending his knee on Friday after stepping awkwardly in a hole on the mound.

Colorado 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 3

- Manny Ramirez continues to sit out - are they trying to force him to accept a trade or a waiver to the White Sox? Is his calf bothering him again? Or is this just a case of Joe Torre being Joe Torre, thinking that Scott Podsednik is a better option? Maybe that's the case defensively, and in Coors Field that could matter.
- Whoever is the AP writer for this game annoyingly doesn't know how to spell "Billingsley."
- Ian Stewart was a late scratch with an abdominal injury.
- Aaron Cook (turf toe) should come off the DL on Thursday. How does he fit in with Jhoulys Chacin pitching well?

Baltimore 5, Los Angeles Angels 0

- Josh Bell hit his third homer in seven games. He's still struggling in his pitch selection, with a 2:35 BB:K ratio in 98 at-bats.
- Kevin Millwood threw eight shutout innings against the Angels - that alone speaks volumes about the Angels' recent struggles at the plate. They've been shut out four times in the last 14 games.

Arizona 11, San Francisco 3

- First it was Tim Lincecum and then Barry Zito that got smacked around by the cellar-dwelling Diamondbacks. The Giants remain six games back in the NL West. Zito picked up the rare three-loss week for a starting pitcher, getting the loss also in the Giants' extra-inning loss to the Reds on Wednesday.
- Jose Guillen made matters worse by dropping a fly ball in the first inning. He's hitting well for the Giants since the trade, but he's a huge liability defensively.
- Buster Posey was held out for precautionary reasons after injuring his left forearm on Friday.
- Brian Wilson got hit in the neck in pregame throwing sessions. He was helped off the field, but should be available to pitch if needed on Sunday.


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